Finimalism Sessions: Q&A with Marina Veziko & Samuli Cantell


March 2024

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Design & art direction Marina Veziko, photos Aleksi Tikkala

The emergence of digital design has changed the whole design field for good. New opportunities, platforms, and interfaces – or new challenges, problems and vast considerations? We asked, they answered. Marina Veziko, graphic designer specialized in branding and creative direction, and Samuli Cantell, Founder and Creative Director of Adventure Club, who have both played key roles in creating the digital realm of Finimalism, reflect on the world of digital design.  

What’s it like designing in a digital environment? What opportunities or limitations does it present?

Samuli: Designing digitally offers amazing freedom, unbound by the physical world's restrictions. It enables us to bring ideas to life and iterate on them almost instantly with actual users. Rapidly evolving technology fuels our exploration of new ways and forms. This constant innovation challenges us to design experiences and products that truly stand out in an ultra-saturated digital world, where designers often draw from the same wells of inspiration and follow identical trends, patterns, and styles. Because of the rise of GenAI I see that in the next three years digital designers will be more like curators.

Marina: Adapting graphic design to a digital environment requires expertise in the different display features and user preferences and needs. It offers opportunities such as interactivity and animation, but it is also important to take into account technical constraints, accessibility and responsiveness of the interface across devices.

FEW Magazine: Design & art direction Marina Veziko & Tino Nyman Photos Aleksi Tikkala

Do you think the digital environment is a threat to "traditional" design?

Samuli: Not at all. The digital realm enhances traditional design, offering new avenues for expression and interaction. It prompts us to reconsider our approach to design without undermining the value and impact of tangible designs in the physical world.

Marina: I think traditional design still has its place, but the digital environment opens up a whole new dimension. It allows the creation of more dynamic content, such as moving images and interactive graphics, which complement more traditional design methods.

What about AI – a threat or an opportunity?

Marina: In my opinion, both. AI can help automate routine tasks and provide valuable insights from user data to support more personalised design, but it also raises questions about issues such as creativity preservation and copyrights. In addition, the impact of AI on the future pricing of creative work is still a big question mark.

Samuli: We now understand that AI will permanently alter society and business landscapes, significantly impacting the digital design industry. AI has the potential to automate mundane tasks, inject fresh perspectives into the creative process, and enrich our comprehension of user and company data. Like any technology, its use must be approached ethically and with a user-centric methodology. We identify three levels of engagement for digital product design studios with AI:

1. Survive: Use AI tools in design processes to stay in the game.

2. Stay Relevant: Develop your own AI-powered tools and rethink your processes.

3. Create a Competitive Edge: Design and develop AI-powered products and experiences.

How do you combine aesthetics, user-centricity, and digital sustainability?

Marina: Combining these elements in graphic design requires a skilful balancing act between visual appeal, usability and environmental friendliness. However, I do not believe that these are mutually exclusive; on the contrary, a good designer is by default able to create user-centred and visually appealing solutions. Digital sustainability can be reflected, for example, in the consideration of colour choices and interactive features. Web pages and other digital applications can thus be optimised for faster loading and energy efficiency, contributing to more environmentally friendly digital design.

Samuli: These pillars form the bedrock of digital design. By embracing sustainable design principles, such as selecting energy-efficient technologies and platforms, we craft solutions that are visually striking, user-friendly, and environmentally responsible.

Adventure Club

What makes digital design unique?

Samuli: Digital design is distinguished by its capacity for interaction and personalization, which is unparalleled in physical design.

Marina: Digital design gives graphic designers unique opportunities to create interactive and experiential user experiences. It enables dynamic content and continuous optimisation based on user feedback. Whereas in the past, websites were designed in one go, most of my clients now follow user data closely and we update different parts of the site every week if necessary to ensure the user experience and purchase path is as smooth as possible.

And finally, on Finimalism — how does the more with less idea resonate with your work?

Marina: Finimalism reflects well my approach to design, where I often emphasise the principle of "more with less". This does not necessarily mean that the end result itself is minimalist, but rather a design process in which I try to find a clear core idea from the outset as the starting point for all design, cutting out all possible unnecessary distractions. The brief from the client is summarised in a few key words, which are then used to build the visual world.

Samuli: The "more with less" philosophy harmonizes perfectly with our ethos at Adventure Club. As an international design studio with a Nordic touch, we aim to create functional, aesthetically simple solutions that reduce unnecessary consumption and concentrate on what's essential. This approach enables us to design in a sustainable and responsible manner, producing long lasting solutions.

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